Recently we did a post about how to strengthen your teeth. In one section, we talked about a couple of things you could eat. While some might find that helpful, it seemed like a good idea to do a deeper dive into what the most nutritious things you can put in your mouth and have them play a big part in the health of your teeth and gums.
The best thing about the contents of this post? You’re going to be able to find all of them at your local supermarket. There’s not going to be any searching high and low at an obscure organic food store that is several counties over from your home. It’s not going to make you have to radically alter your shopping list, either.
What To Get
The first thing you want to do is make sure that the food you get is rich in fiber. Think of fruits and vegetables. Not only do they help with digestion, these foods work to keep your teeth and gums clean. When you eat them, they also increase the saliva in your mouth – which then helps wash down the particles of food that are in there. That saliva also helps since they have tiny amounts of calcium and phosphate, which are good for your teeth. Think pears, strawberries, avocados, apples, and raspberries, just to name a few. Lentils, kidney beans, and split peas are also good choices.
Another thing you want to do is get food that has a lot of calcium in it. Cheese, plain yogurt, and many other dairy products fit this bill. Milk is an excellent choice. The reason for this is that the calcium restores lost minerals and can aid in removing tooth enamel. Consider drinking green or black tea – they have polyphenols that can kill or reduce bacteria that causes plaque in your mouth. Sugarless chewing gum increases saliva output. Eating or drinking things that have fluoride, including poultry products and powdered juices can help.
What To Avoid
While there are some starchy foods that are good for you, there are ones that will just get stuck in your mouth. Think of soft breads and potato chips. They are so yummy but it seems to take like eight swallows of water to dislodge some parts of them. They stick and accumulate bacteria.
There are some candies though that you can eat that will get off the teeth quickly. As in – you can pop them in your mouth, chew them and then wash them down with water. Chocolate falls in this category. There is some debate about whether it has cavity-fighting properties or not, but it tastes so good. Of course, eat it in moderation, since it can also affect your waistline.
On the other hand, there are candies that can stay in your mouth for a long time… and thus wreak havoc on your enamel. People who are big lollipop fans need to watch out. Also hard candy fans. Since it’s lingering in there, that gives the sugar so much extra time to go after your enamel and dentin. If you like to bite down on these, then you add the risk of cracking your teeth when you do – just like if you like to chew on ice. It’s not a recommended practice.
There are drinks that can dry out your mouth – like alcohol. A dry mouth can get a LOT more bacteria. The same can be said about some medications. If this happens, be sure that you have a good supply of water to be able to moisten your mouth again. Otherwise you risk getting gum disease. If it’s medication causing this, think about getting a fluoride rinse.
Eating the proper foods and drinking the proper beverages can work extremely well in conjunction with having a strong routine of properly brushing your teeth, flossing your teeth and using mouthwash each day. When you do this, you will find that you enjoy excellent oral health. Being confident that you will have an excellent smile to show off to people can mean a lot to your overall outlook in life.
As you can see, the foods that we listed are not going to cause you to have to wander all over a supermarket in search of things. It’s really easy to make delicious things that are very enjoyable… and even having things like pizza can have a lot of benefits. Eat well and be happy!
Dr. Robert M. Trager has years of dental experience. He’s seen patients who have all kinds of eating habits. He’ll be glad to steer them in the right direction after their next appointment. Call 718-656-4747 to see the JFK-LGA Dentist today.